Praise & Encouragement
May 2, 2022
We are part of a small group that is currently studying the book of Ephesians. Last week part of what we studied focused on Ephesians 5:8-9. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”
In the Leader’s Guide of the Ephesians study by J.D. Greear he says, “There’s a strong emphasis on darkness and light, and Paul uses some fascinating phrases. He says, ‘You were darkness’ and ‘you are light’. Not in darkness or light but are. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus told His followers, ‘You are the light of the world.’ Yes, we’re called to walk in the light and to come to the light, but the light of God becomes part of us. You might say we reflect God’s light as the moon reflects the sun. We are light to those around us.”
Paul also tells us to “live as children of light”. What does that mean for the way you live your life? J.D. Greear expounds on that by saying, “The phrase ‘children of’ is often used in Scripture for people who exhibit a certain quality, but it’s more than that. It’s an identity thing. When we are children of someone, we carry their DNA. We’re like our parents because it’s coded into us. It’s who we are.”
After Paul talks about living as children of light, he talks about the “fruit of the light”. What happens when someone lives out the light within them? Goodness, righteousness and truth. Our actions should reflect our faith and produce good deeds. We don’t do good deeds to get saved but because we ARE saved!
I love spring because I enjoy gardening and spring is when I get to plant. Planting is fun because I know (or at least I hope!) that in a few weeks those seeds will become plants popping up out of the ground which eventually will produce fruit or vegetables that I can enjoy eating and sharing with others. In the same way, the Light within us should shine and produce fruitful good deeds. Do you feel God tugging on your heart to get involved with a ministry at CFC or within the community? How can you be light to your world around you?
Sandy VerMeer, Deacon
Dear CFC Congregation:
April 1, 2022 is a very special day in the life of Christ’s Family Church! There are so many amazing things going on at CFC that we could consider this a “replant” of our church. Additionally, there is much excitement in the congregation, staff, and leadership as we faithfully move forward and address the changes facing us!
On one hand, we celebrate the March 31 retirement of Reverend Brian Akker, CFC’s third pastor, after his 20 years of faithful service as Senior Pastor. This is a day of remembrance and celebration of his ministry, along with a little sadness, as we bid him and his wife, Mary, goodbye and best wishes, but it is also filled with joy for God’s new plans for their lives. Through this journey, we’ve also watched their two sons, Kyle and Tyler, grow up in our church, graduate from high school, go off to college, and begin their professional careers. While Pastor Brian will no longer be performing any pastoral duties for CFC, Mary and he will always be our friends. Please continue to pray for the Akker family as they navigate these unfolding changes to seek His will.
On the other hand, we recognize today as the official first day of our affiliation with the Alliance of Reformed Churches, our new denomination. The RCA’s Classis of Illinois graciously and unanimously approved our petition for separation and transfer to the ARC at its March 15 meeting. There, the Classis prayed over CFC to send us off for the next phase of our ministry in the Quad Cities. However, there is yet much work to be done as the ARC is developing key policies and procedures while welcoming more churches into the denomination. For more information on the ARC, please visit its website at www.arc21.org.
CFC is also transitioning from our current senior pastor (i.e., consistory-led) governance model to a lead pastor (i.e., staff-led) governance model. As we have previously indicated, there will be more information provided over the next several months regarding the scope of this transition as we update our Articles of Incorporation for the State of Iowa, bylaws (i.e., how we govern our church), website, and operating policies and procedures. Additionally, the Consistory is in the midst of developing its comprehensive set of Mission, Guiding, and Accountability Principles that will delineate responsibilities to guide both the Consistory and church staff in day-to-day operations. Please pray for the Consistory and Ron Fischer, Director of Operations, as we develop and put these into place.
We also eagerly anticipate the next phase in the life of CFC beginning May 1 with the arrival of our fourth pastor, Pastor Zachary Fraley as Lead Pastor, and his wife, Blair. Pastor Zachary will be ordained by his current denomination, the Kingdom Network in Indiana, on Sunday, April 10 and expects to complete his seminary studies by May, 2023. The leadership of the ARC has already indicated that this process is acceptable. Also, the Fraley’s have purchased a home in Bettendorf and are looking forward to meeting and working with us in ministry in just a few short weeks. If you would like to help welcome them to CFC and the Quad Cities, please contact the church office for more information. In the interim month between pastors, one of the elders will be available to cover your spiritual needs. Just contact the church office if you need assistance from an elder or a deacon. Please keep the Fraley’s in your daily prayers as they make their move from Indiana and begin ministry here.
To close, I would like to share a beautiful passage of Scripture from which our eternal hope springs – Hebrews 13:8 (NIV). 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Let’s continue to seek His will and put our trust in Him for He is good. God is great! Amen.
Jim Patterson, Elder